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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The late John Bowman, a three-time world champion and a charter member of the Cowboys’ Turtle Association – he signed the original petition and carried card number 10 – heads the 2013 ProRodeo Hall of Fame induction class of five.
Bowman is joined by the late 1962 Saddle Bronc Riding World Champion Kenny McLean, 1990 Bareback Riding World Champion Chuck Logue, four-time PRCA Bullfighter of the Year Joe Baumgartner and the late Rex “Bud” Kerby, one of the PRCA’s top stock contractors for more than 30 years.
Induction ceremonies are scheduled for 10 a.m. July 13 in the garden area of ProRodeo Hall of Fame and Museum of the American Cowboy in Colorado Springs.
Skilled in all the timed events, Bowman won his first gold buckle in steer roping in 1933, won both the steer roping and all-around world championships in 1936 with earnings of $10,800 ($180,388 in today’s dollars) and set a calf roping world record of 11.0 seconds in 1927 that stood for many years.
He won gold watches at the Calgary Stampede in 1929-31, won steer wrestling (1930) and tie-down roping (1935) titles at the Cheyenne (Wyo.) Frontier Rodeo and won the tie-down roping, steer roping and all-around championships at the Pendleton (Ore.) Round-Up in 1945.
Bowman’s career lasted 44 years, competing in tie-down roping and steer wrestling until he was past 50 and then cutting back to just team roping and steer roping. In 1958, Bowman headed for Ted Ashworth and they placed at 15 rodeos, including a win in the short round at California Rodeo Salinas. Ashworth won the team roping gold buckle and Bowman was third, just $188 back of his partner in the days when there was no separate world championship for headers and heelers.
His last check came as a team roping header in San Juan Bautista, Calif., a month before his death in August 1959, and his biggest complaint about going into the hospital for intestinal surgery was that it meant he would miss California Rodeo Salinas.
Bowman was highly regarded for his skill, competitive spirit, shrewdness, durability and rough, outspoken manner, as well as his willingness to help young cowboys succeed. He was a mentor to three world champions: steer roper Everett Shaw, steer wrestler Homer Pettigrew and team roper Ashworth, along with steer wrestler Sherman Sullins and team roper Al Hooper.
A native of Beggs, Okla., Bowman moved to Oakdale, Calif., and, with his wife Lucille, bought a ranch on the banks of the Stanislaus River in 1936. He founded the Oakdale Saddle Club Rodeo in 1948 and the all-around champion each year has his name inscribed on the John Bowman Memorial Trophy.